Maker Faire, NYC-style

Mister and I have gone to two Maker Faires together, both in California at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. Ugh. I want to like the Maker Faires, I do, but both rounds have been crowded, hot, and filled with really neat exhibits sandwiched between Wacky Uncle Al's garage experiments. For at least one of those faires, Bama was tiny. Maybe I was pregnant for the other? 

When Mister proposed going to this year's NYC faire, I agreed because it was out in Flushing, Queens and a field trip is always a nice way to spend a Saturday. (Yes, I said Flushing.)

We aimed to be there at 10am, arrived at 11am. "Hello Queens!" Bama cheered as we exited the 7 train.

I expected hordes.

Hordes of upper middle class people streaming through Flushing, making haste for robots. Instead, it was a calm procession of (generally middle, upper middle class) families and couples and small groups headed to the New York Hall of Science (I'm in science love!). It made for a striking juxtaposition, and Mister thought I was cynicical, when I said, "Follow the white people" to the faire because it was a parade of a different complexion from its route. I can't help but point out my own discomfort at what feels a little like flaunting … hey, look at us! We're enlightened and creative! And mostly white! Let's go to the fair … with an e!

But once we passed the gate, it was like visiting Old Faithful. More! Show me again! What's that? Cool!

First stop, MakerBot turtle shell racers. Zippy little robots driving around a mini-track. 

  image from flickr.comOnto the solar-powered carousel where we met up with my friend, KJ. Off to the lifesize Mousetrap. A game no one I know has ever actually played, even if it was around. The rules, the set-up. Bring on Monopoly, instead. As we stood in the late morning sun, listening to the warm-up, I thought, "Glass half-empty. Get on with it!" It was pretty cool, watching the bowling balls do their thing and hearing the CRUNCH! of the car as the ginormous weight dropped on it. 

But the set-up took time, so Bama, who didn't want to see any mice, and Mister backed away to play with the awesome bubble world, which included a human-pedaled air system to create bubbles (how's that for a lame explanation). Mister's pedaling while Bama's using both racquets to make many tiny bubbles. Also in this area, the do-it-yourself copper coil boats (think Ponyo and his candle-powered boat). 

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Sesame Reads had several kids' projects to do, including making a boat or something that floats, and then seeing how many dominoes it could hold (six) before it started to take on water. We also made some paper bag puppets and raced cars to see what incline did to affect speed. Science!
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We played with Lego robots. Big hit.

The Museum of Math (to open in NYC in 2012) had this incredible geometric ball (knot? I don't know) that Bama could spin, touch, poke. She loved it. She started working on building a second one with one of the volunteers but (bummer!) some of the pieces were missing. Hidden box!

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It took some doing, but we made our way to Frites and Steak (despite having picked up sandwiches from Local). Okay, Mister made his way with the stroller (Rabbit came, too, saw much, and touched nothing) while we stopped and went through the PVC Misting Keyhole Tunnel. Someone small went through, 20 times?  KJ gamely joined her for a couple of laps then: "I'm very wet!" she'd yell before scooting around the sides to get through the tunnel again. KJ gamely joined her for a couple of laps then,

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We hit the Etsy stand, shimmied through the craft section, and then hung out at the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir for about 15 minutes. I should make this its own post because the photo (thanks, Mister!) is so freakin' fantastic! The fish and the lobsters move and sing. Hilarious!!

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 Also, on the musical front, I don't have a picture, but the Midi Controlled Musical Robots were phenomenal. Fun to look and listen to, Bama danced around them for a while before we found the fish car. If you go, don't miss the amazing fire-breathing dragon. So cool.

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Maker Faire, NYC-style

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